Vinopolis Monday Newsletter 3-10-19

In Today’s Newsletter:

The King of Beaujolais Value, Restocked!

Our Last Drop of Library Defaix Chablis

New Arrivals
Including Ayres, Johan, Kelley Fox
Tarlant, Luneau-Papin, Gufi and More!

Plouzeau, Natural Wine Superstar

Sauternes: More Affordable and Versatile Than Ever

Staff Pick: A Return to Classic Oregon

A Vertical of Oddero Riservas

2018 Entry Level Dönnhoff

Vissoux Restocks

The King of Beaujolais Value

Domaine du Vissoux remains one of our best-selling Beaujolais producers.  Both from an absolute quality and value perspective, they’re a top class outfit, turning out fantastic wines that are huge customer favorites.  We’d sold through a number of their wines but are happy to report that almost all the 2017’s are back in stock (and we still have a few of the 2016’s poking around as well).

Pierre-Marie Chermette’s Domaine du Vissoux wines are a great value; the quality is uncompromised and the wine is joyful and vibrant. From their simplest bottlings through their top crus, the wine expresses Beaujolais terroir in spades. The fruit is deep and pure, but it doesn’t go beyond perfectly ripe. The top wines age beautifully over a 5-15 year period but always seem to drink well on release.  We’ve never managed to avoid drinking the less expensive bottles to find out how they age. The wines are quite simply a near perfect reflection of what Beaujolais should be.  Chermette killed it in 2017 and these wines are as good as have ever been produced by the estate.

“The Beaujolais is coming of age. This bucolic landscape’s rolling hills may seem like an unlikely background for a revolution, but its hard-working—and often hard-partying—wine growers, persevering in the face of entrenched stereotypes and marginal economics, are producing some of France’s most exciting wines. Every year, their ranks are swelling. And quality doesn’t come at a premium….In short, there has never been a better time for consumers to discover the wines of this underrated region

“2017 is a warmer, sunnier vintage of very high quality, with some producers comparing it to a hypothetical blend of 2015 and 2016 and others looking back to 2011. The wines are richer and more textural than the 2016s, without attaining the extremes of over-ripeness and hard tannin that sometimes mark the drought-impacted 2015s.” William Kelley, The Wine Advocate

In Stock Now:

Pierre-Marie Chermette Domaine du Vissoux ‘Origine’ Vieilles Vignes, Beaujolais 2017 750ML ($19.95) $16 special
William Kelley-Wine Advocate 91 points
“A superb wine, the 2017 Beaujolais-Villages Origine unfurls in the glass with a classy bouquet of smoky cassis, plums and subtle notions of loamy soil. On the palate, it’s medium to full-bodied, juicy and ample, with supple tannins, succulent acids and impressive concentration, concluding with a mouthwatering, flavorful finish”

This is the only listing in the USA today!
Pierre-Marie Chermette Domaine du Vissoux Coeur de Vendanges, Beaujolais 2017 750ML ($24.95) $19 special
William Kelley-Wine Advocate 93 points
“A wine that would embarrass many more expensive bottlings from Moulin-à-Vent or Fleurie, Chermette’s 2017 Beaujolais-Villages Coeur de Vendanges bursts with aromas of crushed cassis, raspberries, potpourri and rich soil tones. On the palate, it’s medium to full-bodied, layered and concentrated, with melting tannins, a generous core of sappy fruit and a long, beautifully delineated finish. Intensely flavorful but refreshing, accessible but substantive, this is a fabulous wine that exemplifies the appeal of Beaujolais. Given its unabashed deliciousness and decidedly modest tariff, this wine must be one of French wine’s greatest values.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
Pierre-Marie Chermette Domaine du Vissoux Brouilly Pierreux, Beaujolais 2017 750ML ($27.95) $21.90 special
William Kelley-Wine Advocate 90+ points
“Notes of crushed cassis, ripe plums and dried flowers introduce the 2017 Brouilly Pierreux, a crunchy, medium to full-bodied wine with good depth at the core, juicy balancing acids and a somewhat rustic chassis of structuring tannin. I’d be inclined to forget it in the cellar for a year or two and drink it over the following five.”

This is the only listing in the USA today!
Pierre-Marie Chermette Domaine du Vissoux Fleurie les Garants, Beaujolais 2017 750ML ($31.95) $27 special
William Kelley-Wine Advocate 93 points
“The 2017 Fleurie Garants is a warmer, southwest-facing site, and its bouquet is correspondingly richer and more sun-kissed than that of Chermette’s Poncié, exhibiting notes of ripe, plummy fruit, rich spices and subtle hints of loamy soil. On the palate, it’s medium to full-bodied, ample and expansive, with a generous core of fruit, framed by fine tannins.”

Pierre-Marie Chermette Domaine du Vissoux Fleurie Poncie, Beaujolais 2017 750ML ($31.95) $27 special
William Kelley-Wine Advocate 93 points “The 2017 Fleurie Poncié hails from a southeast-facing, higher-altitude site that’s typically quite cool, and that’s reflected in its bright, perfumed bouquet of raspberries, rose petals and Griotte cherries, with suggestions of darker fruits emerging with air. On the palate, the wine is medium to full-bodied, pure and nicely concentrated, with fine tannins, a bright line of acidity and good length on the finish.”

Pierre-Marie Chermette Domaine du Vissoux Moulin-a-Vent Les Trois Roches, Beaujolais 2017 750ML ($34.95) $29 special
William Kelley-Wine Advocate 95 points
“The 2017 Moulin-à-Vent Les Trois Roches is superb—and likely the king of the cellar chez Chermette this year—wafting from the glass with a beautiful bouquet of raspberries, potpourri, orange rind and rose petal. On the palate, it’s medium to full-bodied, layered and supple, with the most depth and amplitude of any wine in the portfolio and the most held in reserve, too. This is a fantastic expression of Moulin-à-Vent from one of Beaujolais’s greatest winemakers, and it comes warmly recommended.”

Pierre-Marie Chermette Domaine du Vissoux Saint Amour, Beaujolais 2017 750ML ($27.95) $24 special
Nick 93 points
“Rich aromas of poached strawberries and pastries, as well as pomegranate and blood oranges. Really fresh. The palate has a very plush and lively strawberry core. Raspberries, too. Juicy, sapid appeal. Drink now or hold.”

Want to see all the Vissoux wines, from both 2016 and ’17, in stock now? Just click here for the full list on our webstore!

Our Last Drop of Library Defaix Chablis

Daniel-Etienne Defaix releases Chablis when he believes the wines are ready. This can mean 15 years past their release. Luckily, the time has come for the truly awesome 2005s. They’re not really ex-cellar or library release, but represent the current vintage on offer (and imported by Rosenthal, so you know it’s good). These are magnificent bottlings that have just reached their peak maturity window. What could you possibly expect to pay for such an experience? At Vinopolis – under $50/bottle!

We’re giant fans of the Defaix wines, but we’re not the only ones—the first tranche of wine sold out in a flash and so we’ve brought a final round back in. Plus, William Kelley (the new Burgundy reviewer at the Wine Advocate) published a little bit about the wines and the estate that included some glowing praise.  We’ve included his notes below, but trust us as well—you’re going to want to stock up on these wines.

“A genial gourmet, Daniel-Etienne Defaix is one of Chablis’s personalities, and his wines are no less characterful. He releases his sapid, gourmand expressions of Chablis at maturity—that’s to say, some 15 years after everyone else in the region….These are textural, complex wines that evoke the white Burgundies of yesteryear, and they may confuse consumers habituated to the tart, brittle, processed wines that are often passed off as expressions of region’s “terroir.” Their potential to develop in bottle and their capacity to pair with a thrilling variety of foods, however, make them fascinating, at least to this writer. Much of the production is sold to France’s best restaurants, but what reaches the export market is well worth seeking out.” – William Kelley, Wine Advocate

New Stock Added:

Domaine Daniel-Etienne Defaix Cote de Lechet, Chablis Premier Cru 2005 750ML ($59.95) $46 special
William Kelley – Wine Advocate 93 points
“The 2005 Chablis 1er Cru Côte de Léchet is more complex than the Vaillon, unfurling with complex aromas of honeycomb, mandarin oil, fresh mushroom, almond paste and oyster shell. On the palate, it’s full-bodied, rich and gourmand, with a satiny attack, a deep, concentrated core and tangy balancing acids. It’s a textural, sapid Chablis that will work well at the table.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
The next best price is $49.88

Domaine Daniel-Etienne Defaix Les Lys, Chablis Premier Cru 2005 750ML ($59.95) $49 special
William Kelley – Wine Advocate 93 points
“Dramatic aromas of blanched almonds, beeswax, honey and preserved lemon introduce the 2005 Chablis 1er Cru Les Lys, a full-bodied, textural wine that’s rich, concentrated and structured, with a tight-knit core, tangy acids and a stony finish. Like Defaix’s other 2005s, it’s very much in its prime and will be well worth seeking out when it reaches the marketplace.”

Domaine Daniel-Etienne Defaix Vaillon, Chablis Premier Cru 2005 750ML ($59.95) $46 special
William Kelley – Wine Advocate 92 points
“The 2005 Chablis 1er Cru Vaillon is drinking beautifully, wafting from the glass with a pretty bouquet of honey, buttered citrus and confit lemon. On the palate, it’s medium to full-bodied, satiny and bright, with a generous, textural attack, vibrant acids and a charming, open-knit profile that belies its evident capacity to age. It will be well worth seeking out when it’s released.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!

New Arrivals


Patton Valley Vineyard Petillant Naturel Pinot Noir Rose, Willamette Valley 2018 750ML ($29.95) $21.90 special
Winery Note
“We take our lovely Estate Pinot noir, grown specifically to be rosé, and let it sparkle. Once primary fermentation slows, the wine is left to settle before racking off of its primary lees. At bottling, a tiny 13g/l dosage of sugar is introduced and the few remaining yeast cells are left to provide the sparkle and lees-y feel as it turns into alcohol and CO2. Not disgorging makes it hazy but creates broader palate weight, pleasing textures, and balance throughout. Best consumed in one sitting.  The nose is fresh fruit and mineral – like a new bottle of Flintstone’s Chewables – and the palate is lively, playful, and electric. Lithe red fruit and citrus ride alongside the splashes of fizz, and the lees broaden the palate… just enough. Good with or without food, this is just plain great”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
The crisp, clean Willamette classic returns in a new vintage!
Ayres Pinot Blanc, Willamette Valley 2018 750ML ($19.95) $17 special
Winery note
“Clean, crisp, and refreshing.  Some things in life are just easy – like a perfectly chilled bottle of Pinot Blanc paired with abundant sunshine! Mineral tones and citrus highlights deliver an instantly refreshing sensation to your palate!”

This is the only listing in the USA today!
Savory, bright and focused.  Really delightful.
Johan Vineyards Estate Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley 2015 750ML ($31.95) $28 special
John Gilman 93+ points
“The 2015 Estate Vineyard pinot noir from Johan Vineyards comes in at a cool 12.5 percent octane, was fermented with a bit more than forty percent whole clusters and was raised in thirty percent new oak in this vintage. The wine offers up a beautifully youthful bouquet of cherries, red berries, beet root, a fair bit of youthful sweet stem tones, a complex base of soil, a touch of mustard seed and a discreet framing of cedary oak. On the palate the wine is pure, tangy and full-bodied, with a lovely core of fruit, excellent mineral drive, moderate tannins and a very long, complex and youthful finish. This needs four or five years of bottle age to allow its stems to morph into the spice spectrum (unless one is not deterred by the more savory side of whole clusters), but it is going to be flat out stunning when it really starts to settle into its plateau of maturity. 2024-2055+”

This is the lowest listed price on the West Coast today!
Kelley Fox Wines ‘Momtazi Vineyard’ Pinot Noir, McMinnville 2016 750ML ($37.95) $33 special
Grapelive 95+ points
“The gorgeously expressive 2016 Momtazi Pinot is spicy, vibrant and perfumed with a beautiful crimson/ruby hue in the glass. As in 2015, Fox notes, this bottling is again 100% whole cluster, and it clearly shows in this wines intensity and tension. Kelley Fox has made another awesome wine, and while the vintage was ripe this bottling is fresh and precise in detail making it a stunning effort that is absolutely thrilling, especially if you like stem inclusion. It’s a wine that should only get better and better over the next decade! The all-biodynamic Momtazi Vineyard always shows mineral and exotic spices resting on basalt from volcanoes this site has cooling breezes, dramatically set west of McMinnville with some east facing slopes. Fox likes to highlight the terroir here, so she used no new wood at all, just neutral Burgundy barrels, native yeasts and this vintage came in at 13% natural alcohol, allowing the vitality and energy to flow freely in a pure, richly textured and balanced wine. The nose is explosive with wild flowers, dark berries, minty herbs (stems) and red peppery spices which leads to a medium full palate of black cherry, strawberry jam, plum and tangy currant/berry fruits along with star anise, cinnamon and liquid violets adding a hint of green tea, blood orange and pomegranate with just a kiss of earthy chard and subtle oak. I cannot believe how great this wine is, after falling so hard for the 2015, it was with incredibly high expectations I tried this vintage 2016. It floored me, and I would be hard pressed to pick a favorite, but after time in the glass this 2016 even seduced me further still. It’s tightly wound personality and the stemmy drive might not be for everyone, but for me it’s a total thrill and the potential here is off the carts. I’m putting a bottle away for 5 to 10 years. Kelley Fox has mastered her craft and style to near perfection. This latest set of wines is simply awesome, it particular her Freedom Hill Pinot Blanc and the 2015 and 2016 Momtazi Pinot Noir(s). These are do not miss wines from Oregon. This again is an impressive lineup from a huge talent.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
The next best price is $49.99
We’re stocking up on (very) large formats for wedding season.  Grab some now.
Andre Clouet Grande Reserve Brut, Champagne NV 1.5L ($99.95) $89 special
Andre Clouet Grande Reserve Brut, Champagne NV 6L ($599.95) $519 special
Importer note
“Initially showing a very fresh bouquet of high toned fruits with hints of hazelnuts and yeasty aromas, the Grande Réserve cuvée displays highly structured red fruit notes on the palate for which the area is so famous. Long lees aging, low dosage and Grand Cru Pinot Noir fruit combine for an opulent yet balanced Champagne.”

Tarlant Zero Brut Nature, Champagne NV 750ML ($59.95) $49 special
Disgorged August 2017
Antonio Galloni 92 points “The NV Brut Nature Zero is a gorgeous entry-level Champagne. Bright, focused and wonderfully nuanced, the Brut Zero exudes class. Citrus, orchard fruit and vibrant floral notes add energy throughout. This is very nicely done. The current release is based on the 2010 vintage, with reserve wines from 2009, 2008 and 2007.” Review is for March 2017 disgorgement.

The easier-to-find analogue to Pepiere’s Briords.
Domaine Pierre Luneau-Papin Muscadet Sevre-et-Maine Sur Lie Clos des Allees Vieilles Vignes 2016 750ML ($21.95) $18 special
Wine Enthusiast 91 points
“Rich and fruity, this has straightforward apple and citrus flavors. It is packed with fruitiness, a zesty character and flavors of almonds and spice, finishing with great acidity. Drink now.”

This is the lowest listed price on the West Coast today!
You keep selling it out, we keep bringing it back.
Chateau de Saint Cosme Cotes du Rhone Les Deux Albion, Rhone 2016 750ML ($24.95) $19 special
Grapelive 93 points
“Louis Barruol uniquely with the Chateau version of Cotes du Rhone, Les Deux Albions, uses multiple vineyard sites to gain complexity, but still co-ferments all the grapes (together) which includes mainly Syrah, but with a good dose of Grenache, Carignan, Mourvèdre and Clairette. This 2016 is gripping stuff, deep and earthy highlighting its 100% whole cluster fermentation and Syrah-based power, especially in such a vintage. This is very serious stuff. This is not your grandpa’s Cotes du Rhone. In fact it would be hard not to think of this as a full blown Chateauneuf or Crozes-Hermitage. This wine comes from parcels of vines that are set on hardened clay hillsides of ancient alluvium, along with limestone marl and rocky pebbles with southern exposures mostly, but with enough elevation and the Mistral that gives acidity, so this inky dark wine has fantastic structure and solid tannins. The Les Deux Albions is raised in a combination of unique wooden vats with a truncated cone shape and concrete tanks. This serves this wine well allowing the terroir and old school character to excel. It’s a brilliant Rhone and a killer value. Dark meaty and leathery notes lead the way along with a bouquet of melted salty black licorice, crushed violets that leads to a bold palate of boysenberry, black plums, peppercorns, dried aromatic herbs, lavender oil, cedar and lingering blueberry all of which unfold in lively and vigorous layers. It’s a full bodied red that just gets better and better with each and every sip.”
Wine Spectator 91 points “A solid, slightly gutsy version that sports dark cherry, plum and cassis flavors inlaid liberally with violet, pepper and bramble notes. Reveals a flash of licorice root on the finish. Grenache, Syrah, Mourvèdre and Cinsault. Drink now through 2020. 4,000 cases made.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
Gulfi’s top value bottling returns and is stellar as always.
Gulfi Nerojbleo Nero d’Avola Sicilia IGT, Sicily 2015 750ML ($21.95) $18 special
James Suckling 93 points
“The balance and juiciness to this wine is beautiful. Dried cherries and berries with hints of fresh herbs and flower petals follow through to a medium to full body, silky tannins and a delicious finish. From organically grown grapes. Drink now.”
Wine Advocate 90 points “The 2015 Nerojbleo (an IGT Terre Siciliane wine) shows a fruit-forward approach with plump cherry and summer plum that rise to the top of the bouquet with a direct and immediate personality. The quality of the fruit is ripe, dense, dark and very black in character. This is a mid-weight Sicilian wine to pair with fried chicken or spicy pork. This wine is perhaps easier in style, but I like the fresh transparency you get here. Some 80,000 bottles were made.”-ML

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!

The Cabernet’s been selling like hotcakees and the Malbec might be better.
Casarena Kaoki’s Vineyard Malbec, Mendoza 2014 750ML ($29.95) $24 special
Wine Advocate 92 points
“I also tasted the 2014 Malbec Naoki’s Vineyard, from a slightly warmer and riper vintage, but they compensated it with an earlier harvest and achieved lower alcohol in the wine. This was the fourth productive year for the vines, which yielded more grapes, and they were able to produce some 30,000 bottles. The fourth crop from new vines usually yields very concentrated juice full of flavors and aromas, as it’s the first time the plant is able to produce enough grapes as the root system should be properly established and it feels like the plant has been waiting to express itself. It combines some herbal aromas with plenty of violets, very floral and aromatic. The palate revealed fine tannins and very good acidity and balance. The violets kept growing as the wine sat in the glass. Very showy. Quite impressive, especially for a warmer, riper year.”
Stephen Tanzer-Vinous 92 points “(from vines on a plateau above Agrelo on the eastern side of the valley; the amount of limestone in this soil is unusual for the area, which is not normally a prime place for Malbec): Bright red-ruby. Highly aromatic perfume of blackberry, violet and licorice, plus a touch of peppery wildness; I was reminded both of Pinot Noir and northern Rhône Syrah. Plush, savory, pungent wine with distinctive limestone energy giving the middle palate a light touch. Utterly fine-grained wine with terrific subtle flavor intensity and grip. Finishes with very smooth tannins and lovely rising floral length. A very complex, penetrating Malbec with lovely restrained sweetness.”

This is the only listing in the USA today!

Natural Wine Superstar

Francois Plouzeau’s Fresh & Clean Delights

Francois Plouzeau has emerged as one of the top natural producers in the Loire, synthesizing properly ripe, rich fruit with bright tangy acidity and a vibrancy that only comes from wines that are minimally “made.”  These are wines made in an old-school Loire fashion, with low yields from cool sites and biodynamically farmed vineyards.

In both red and white, then manage to combine a surprising seriousness with a purity and deliciousness that marks them as truly top class Loire wines.  The best comparison might be the wines that Damien Delecheneau makes at Grange Tiphane—they’re natural, sure, but are cleanly made and classically proportioned.  We’re excited to have just received our allocation and to share these for the first time here at Vinopolis.

Just Arrived:

Domaine de la Garreliere Milliard d’Etoiles Petillant Naturel, Loire NV 750ML ($31.95) $28 special
Cabernet Franc & Chenin Blanc. Methode ancestrale

This is the only listing in the USA today!
Domaine de la Garreliere Touraine ‘Le Blanc de la Mariee’, Loire 2017 750ML ($21.95) $18 special
100% Sauvignon Blanc.
Importer Note
“Absolutely not the run of the mill high-yield, machine-harvested, green and acid Touraine Sauvignon. And that can be a problem–because many people are so used to the hyper brisk norm that they don’t know what to do with a textured wine like this. La Mariée is the right stuff.”

This is the only listing in the USA today!
Staff Pick:
“This is certainly not your run of the mill SB.  When the grape is a more serious treatment (longer elevage, barrel aging) it takes on a less “obvious” personality, like with this wine.  Mineral, textural and complex, this is a brilliant value and a world apart from anything coming out of New Zealand or Chile.”-Saul
Domaine de la Garreliere Touraine Cendrillon, Loire 2017 750ML ($24.95) $21.90 special
Importer Note
“This wine is made from the best Sauvignon Blanc grapes from the  old biodynamic vineyards that surround the cellar on the hill outside the village of Richelieu.  It is made from 100% Sauvignon Blanc, aged in used 500L barrels of various ages. This is a fascinating wine for us. The first couple of sips mark it as an interesting wine but, gradually, it opens up in the glass to reveal citrus notes and a fine line of minerality as well as a complexity that belies its price.”

This is the only listing in the USA today!
Domaine de la Garreliere Touraine Gamay/Cabernet Franc Le Cinabre, Loire 2016 750ML ($29.95) $24 special
Winery Note
“Plot:  Vine from 30 – 40 years old. Terroir: Aeolian sand and flint clay on limestone. Manual harvest at the beginning of October, destemmed – Yield 25 hl / ha. Indigenous yeasts – fermentation in concrete vats; Cuvaison over 3 weeks with a gentle extraction. Then the Malolactic Fermentation was made in barrels; Aging in barrels of 500L new 1/3, a wine 1/3 and two wines 1/3, for more than 12 months. Then, put in mass for 2 months. Unfiltered wine.”

This is the only listing in the USA today!
Domaine de la Garreliere Touraine Gamay Sans Tra-lala, Loire 2017 750ML ($24.95) $21.90 special
Importer Note
“Gamay without bullshit!”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
The next best price is $27.30
Domaine de la Garreliere Touraine Le Rouge Des Cornus, Loire 2017 750ML ($21.95) $18 special
Importer Note
“Classic, delicious Loire Cabernet Franc that goes down so easy in the summer with a slight chill on it.”

This is the only listing in the USA today!


Affordable and More Versatile Than Ever

Sauternes has a bit of an unfair reputation—it’s seen as expensive and unnecessarily extravagant at the end of meals, however nothing could be further from the truth. Once you get past the top two or three producers, the prices of Sauternes drop off radically—making them exceptional values if you’re looking for excellent wines to drink. Estates like Raymond Lafon, Coutet and even Rieussec, trade (already aged) for a fraction of the price of Y’quem and offer incredible drinking experiences.   These are wines to buy in quantity and drink often with friends—frankly, they’re better than most of the dessert you’re eating and keep for weeks in the fridge once opened.  We have a nice selection of what might be called “drinking” Sauternes (as opposed to their fancy brothers, which are just for collecting) at a range of excellent prices.

In Stock Now:

Chateau Raymond-Lafon, Sauternes 2002 375ML ($29.95) $18 special
Chateau Raymond-Lafon, Sauternes 2002 750ML ($49.95) $29 special
Robert Parker 92-94 points
“I suspect most readers will find it hard to get excited about the 2002 vintage for the sweet wines of Barsac and Sauternes after what appears to be a prodigious 2001. However, 2002 is a very fine year for this region, possibly superior to any of the vintages between 2000 and 1991. The wines possess plenty of botrytis, but neither the impressive definition nor supreme elegance of the 2001s. This is a sweet, full-bodied, fat, concentrated, intense effort that was showing well in September, 2003.” (Oct 2003)
VinopolNote: Raymond Lafon has always represented exceptional value in Sauternes.  Some of the estate’s vines used to belong to Yquem and it wasn’t included in the 1855 classification, largely because it was founded in 1850.  Raymond Lafon’s wines tend to be age worthy and exceptional value.

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
Chateau Raymond-Lafon, Sauternes 2006 375ML ($29.95) $19 special
Neal Martin 92 points
“Tasted at the Chateau. This is a superb Sauternes from Pierre Meslier. It has a fragrant bouquet with touches of Seville orange marmalade, green lemon and orange-blossom, all very well-defined. The palate is medium-bodied with a good level of botrytis, tangy tangerine and citrus fruits. This ’06 is fizzing with energy: great tension and vibrancy on the finish with just a hint of lemon curd on the aftertaste. Moderate length. Well-made 2006 that should offer splendid drinking over the decade. Drink now-2020. Tasted April 2009.”
Neal Martin 92 points “Tasted blind at Southwold ’06 Bordeaux tasting. It is adorned with a straightforward, no frills Sauternes nose, good definition, barley sugar, lemon curd and honey, gaining in intensity in the glass. The palate is well-balanced, good freshness here with notes of honey, marmalade, a touch of ginger; nice cohesion and very good weight towards the finish. It needs another couple of years to tuck its shirt in, but I admire its focus and breeding. Very fine, though it is marred by just a touch of volatility on the finish. Tasted January 2010.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
Chateau Rieussec, Sauternes 2003 750ML ($79.95) $59 special
Wine Spectator 95 points
“Big, rich and juicy. Voluptuous, with aromas of caramel, apple and light tropical fruit. Full-bodied, round and very sweet, with loads of ripe fruit and a long butterscotch and piecrust aftertaste. Viscous texture. Hard not to drink it now. A wonderful sticky. Best after 2010.”
This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
Chateau Coutet, Barsac 2004 750ML ($79.95) $59 special
Wine Enthusiast 94 points
“A fresh, delicious wine, the natural richness of the botrytis balanced beautifully with acidity. It is ripe but delicate, a style that floats over the sweet fruit.”

Not inexpensive, but a deal for 50+ year old, winery cellared Sauternes.
Chateau Gilette Creme de Tete, Sauternes 1967 750ML ($499.95) $399 special
Wine Spectator 99 points
“[Reviewed 2012] Combines the bitter orange and matchstick-tinged aspects of the ’75 with the layers of dried mango, papaya and fig of the ’79. Then there’s extra glazed pear, date, green tea and Grand Marnier notes chiming in on the gloriously sweet and supple finish. Tasted non-blind at the château.”
Neal Martin 96 points “[Reviewed 2014] The Chateau Gilette Creme de Tete 1967 is perhaps the wine that really convinced me how great this wine can be. It has the finest bouquet of several older vintages: tangerine, beeswax, pine needles and cumin, that opens wonderfully with aeration. The palate is beautifully balanced with an allspice, dried orange peel, marmalade and white pepper. This is very harmonious and elegant with a long, tender finish not far removed from a Tokaji Aszu! Lovely. Drink now-2030+.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
“Sauternes,” Sauternes 2010 750ML ($69.95) $59 special
Declassified d’Yquem
Staff Pick

A Return to Classic Oregon

The 2017 vintage in the Willamette Valley feels like a breath of fresh air after the trifecta of 14/15/16 and their warm weather-induced generousity.  Snappy, bright and delicate, in the best possible way, it’s a classic Oregon year.  Arterberry-Maresh is one of the best, most consistent producers in the Dundee Hills and Jim Arterberry’s entry level bottling from ’17 recalls his excellent 2011, though with a touch more body and substance.  This is deliciously red fruited, floral and bright—a perfect pairing with any number of foods both wintery and springy.

Arterberry Maresh Pinot Noir, Dundee Hills 2017 750ML ($29.95) $24 special
Winery Note
“The 2017 Dundee Hills Pinot noir is a blend of vineyards from Dux, Anderson Family, Weber and Maresh. The 2017 vintage is a change of pace from the last three years of early picks in the heat. A cold spring pushed picking dates into a classic Oregon October allowing flavors to run far ahead of sugars. The 2017 Dundee Hills is fresh and delicate. Very much a Dundee Hills red fruited Pinot noir that you will find drinks pretty easy and quickly. 12.8% abv”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!

A Vertical of Oddero Riservas

“[Exceptional] Brunate, which straddles the Barolo/La Morra border yields dark, powerful, tannic wines built for aging. Black fruit, tar, licorice, violets, dark spices and balsamic notes are some of the signatures of this great site.” – Antonio Galloni, on the Brunate vineyard.

“[Exceptional] Vigna Rionda yields the most perfumed, sensual and mystical of all Barolos. Rose petals, violets, sweet spices, nuanced fruit, silky tannins and often an element of weightlessness make Rionda the Musigny of Barolo.” – Antonio Galloni, on the Vigna Rionda vineyard.

Oddero remains one of the best sources for traditional, uncompromising Barolo.  The estate itself is old even by Piemontese standards, dating back to the 1700’s and they’ve been estate bottling since 1878—quite early by the standards of the region.  That history has ensured them some of the best holdings in Barolo and those terroirs translate into some absolutely classic Barolos in an old-school style.  Oddero’s had some ups and downs over the last 40-50 years but the current generation (the seventh) is producing the best in the recent history of the winery.

All of the Nebbiolo vineyards of the estate are farmed organically and fermentation of the Barolos takes place in stainless steel before maturation in large casks—no barrique here.  The top two wines at Oddero are their Brunate and their Vigna Rionda Riserva.  The latter is only released after ten years of aging and both wines represent some of the best, most traditional Barolo on the market today.  We’re excited to offer a small vertical of both wines, though quantities are fairly limited on both.  This set would be quite a fun collection for any lover of Piedmontese wines.

In Stock Now:

2011 produced rich, early drinking (relatively) versions of Barolo.
Poderi Oddero Brunate, Barolo DOCG 2011 750ML ($149.95) $119 special
James Suckling 94 points
“Gorgeous dried fruits and citrus character with a dense palate, fresh acidity and a lingering finish. Another gorgeous Brunate. Drink in 2017.”

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2012 remains a favorite, classical Barolo vintage.
Poderi Oddero Brunate, Barolo DOCG 2012 750ML ($149.95) $119 special
Wine Spectator 92 points
“Enticing aromas of cherry, rose and spice lead off, while the flavors pick up tar and tobacco, echoing the spice. This is rich and balanced, with oak tannins adding another layer on the long sweet-fruit finish. Best from 2018 through 2032. 180 cases made.”

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What needs to be said about 2013? One for the cellar.
Poderi Oddero Brunate, Barolo DOCG 2013 750ML ($149.95) $119 special
Wine Enthusiast 93 points
“This opens with alluring red berry, menthol, new leather, star anise and crushed herb scents. It’s elegantly structured, offering sour cherry, cranberry, licorice and sage flavors set against firm, fine-grained tannins and fresh acidity. A hint of orange zest closes the finish. Drink 2023–2033.”

Held ten years before release, only 200 magnums were bottled.
Poderi Oddero Vigna Rionda, Barolo Riserva DOCG 2007 1.5L ($499.95) $419 special
James Suckling 96 points
“This is drinking wonderfully now with so much depth of fruit and lots of juicy character. Full body, layered and intense. Plenty of dark berry and chocolate. Fantastic. Drink or hold.”
Monica Larner-Wine Advocate 95 points “This wine is released ten years after the harvest, giving consumers the opportunity to buy an older vintage of Barolo that has been stored carefully back at the winery. Older-release wines like this are becoming ever more popular in the Langhe. The 2007 Barolo Riserva Vignarionda is a powerful and exuberant expression that shows the density and the inner energy of Serralunga d’Alba. Blackberry and dark cherry lift from the bouquet to reveal pretty undertones of spice, leather and savory tobacco. Only 2,763 750-milliliter bottles, 200 magnums and 20 jeroboams were produced. This wine offers a very special taste of Nebbiolo.”
Wine Spectator 95 points “After 10 years, this is ready to enjoy. However, despite the sweet cherry fruit, leather, woodsy and mineral flavors, there are still dense tannins. This is moving in the right direction, mellowing gracefully and lingering with a long, fresh, tobacco- and mineral-tinged aftertaste. Best from 2020 through 2034. 150 cases made.”

New release, ten years after harvest.  A magnificent wine.
Poderi Oddero Vigna Rionda, Barolo Riserva DOCG 2008 750ML ($219.95) $169 special
Importer note
“The name Vigna Rionda, meaning “round vineyard”, comes from the plot of land, a depression filled with rows of vines, with the whole slope in full sun. Bought by the Oddero family in 1985, the Vigna Rionda, like all the land around Serralunga, Castiglione Falletto and Monforte, is part of an unusual tertiary Langhian-Miocene geological formation, rich in calcareous deposits, marl, fine sand and sandstone, alternating with mineral residues from plant and animal organisms. Additionally the Vigna Rionda is sheltered by the Castelletto hill from northeast winds and the winter cold, and it has an excellent microclimate for vine cultivation. The prizewinning Oddero Barolo Vigna Rionda is a great, tenacious wine with a long life, with an intense, spiced bouquet, structured and complex on tasting, and very exciting.”

2018 Entry Level Dönnhoff
“I should acknowledge that I’ll never really understand these remarkable wines. I can reach the point of explaining how (and why) I fall short. But Helmut’s and Cornelius’ wines are ultimately inexplicable. They do not quite add up. And so they fill me with longing, and render me mute.

“Long-time readers and drinkers will perhaps be familiar with what I’m talking about, and with a certain shimmer of spirit that imbues the wines. Younger readers only need to know this: the wines of this miraculous domaine show an incomparable purity allied to unfathomable expressiveness. They are tender but not demure, or another way to say it is, they are forceful but always tender. As a rule, if you have wines of this kind of galvanic intensity, they are textured so as to pierce your palate. But Dönnhoff’s wines have a more silken profile; they seem to want to make you sigh, to loosen your shoulders and take a deep breath, to return a caress. They are themselves caressing, but you don’t know how this can be, and there’s no one you can caress in return. So then, maybe, you look for words to explain this phenomenon, or merely to register and remember it. If you’re like me, you won’t quite find them. The wines are as close to the nature of music as any wines can be. ” –Terry Theise

The wines that Cornelius and Helmut Dönnhoff are making need little in the way of introduction.  They’re considered, at worst, a top-five estate in Germany and many connoisseurs feel as though they’re the premier wines in the country.  Based in the Nahe, which lies in between the Mosel and Rheingau, the wines seem to combine the richness and power of the latter with the bright acidity of the former.  Throw in a mind-boggling number of soils (often within a single vineyard) and you have a recipe for complexity and profundity in Riesling.

We offer these wines every year, always wondering how the family will top the previous vintage.  Every year we taste the wines and are blow away at the quality.  While the top end wines from Dönnhoff are still very far from being available, we’ve secured our allocation of the entry level wines from the vaunted estate and they live up to the family name (again).  If you’ve only tried the to end wines, we’d urge you to buy—and age—the “baby” bottles as they improve remarkably with 5-10 years in bottle.  It’s a tough ask, what with limited cellar space and how delicious these are young, but the results will surprise you.  The wines arrive in May, perfect for drinking over the summer (if we’re being realistic) or aging for a decade (optimism).

Arriving ETA May:

Weingut Donnhoff Riesling Trocken, Nahe 2018 750ML ($24.95) $21.90 pre-arrival special
Case-12 Weingut Donnhoff Riesling Trocken, Nahe 2018 750ML ($299.95) $219 pre-arrival special (that’s only $18.25/bottle!)
Importer note
“At once fine and elegant with delicate peach and citrus aromas, but also unusually powerful for the humble category and this producer. Long, ripe and crisp finish. From organically grown grapes. Fair’n Green certification. Drink or hold. Screw cap.”

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Weingut Donnhoff Tonschiefer Riesling Trocken, Nahe 2018 750ML ($31.95) $26 pre-arrival special
Case-12 Weingut Donnhoff Tonschiefer Riesling Trocken, Nahe 2018 750ML ($379.95) $275 pre-arrival special (that’s only $22.92/bottle!)
Importer note
“Tonschiefer – The slate influence lends this classic Riesling a delicate and balanced acidity! The Leistenberg vineyard lies in a small side valley of the Nahe just outside Oberhausen. Th e name is a double play on words. “Leisten ” means “achieve ” in German, and the Leistenberg perpetually lives up to its name. “Lei ” is also a regional word for slate, and these warm, decomposed clay slate soils and steep terraced hillsides provide ideal conditions for Riesling to thrive. Th e southeast-facing slope basks in the morning sun, which dries out any excess moisture and promotes healthy fruit. The afternoon sun is less powerful, nurturing a long ripening period and moderate alcohol levels. An ideal vineyard for Kabinett wines of high minerality and sophisticated elegance.”

This is the only listing in the USA today!
Weingut Donnhoff Riesling, Nahe 2018 750ML ($24.95) $21.90 pre-arrival special
Case-12 Weingut Donnhoff Riesling, Nahe 2018 750ML ($299.95) $219 pre-arrival special (that’s only $18.25/bottle!)
Importer note
“The geology of the middle Nahe is notably shaped by its eons-old clay slate formations and rich volcanic soils. The concentration of porphyry and melaphyre stone in and around the old Oberhausen vineyards – Kieselberg and Felsenberg, help provide the perfect berry base for Gutsriesling.”

This is the only listing in the USA today!
Weingut Donnhoff Oberhauser Leistenberg Riesling Kabinett, Nahe 2018 750ML ($31.95) $26 pre-arrival special
Case-12 Weingut Donnhoff Oberhauser Leistenberg Riesling Kabinett, Nahe 2018 750ML ($379.95) $275 pre-arrival special (that’s only $22.92/bottle!)
Importer note
“The Leistenberg vineyard lies in a small side valley of the Nahe just outside Oberhausen. Th e name is a double play on words. “Leisten ” means “achieve ” in German, and the Leistenberg perpetually lives up to its name. “Lei ” is also a regional word for slate, and these warm, decomposed clay slate soils and steep terraced hillsides provide ideal conditions for Riesling to thrive. Th e southeast-facing slope basks in the morning sun, which dries out any excess moisture and promotes healthy fruit. Th e afternoon sun is less powerful, nurturing a long ripening period and moderate alcohol levels. An ideal vineyard for Kabinett wines of high minerality and sophisticated elegance.”

This is the only listing in the USA today!

Thank you for reading!